When Lisa Menze decided to open a cat-boarding business, she knew she wanted the felines' home away from home to be cage-free.
"I hate seeing cats in cages," Menze said.
Instead she built and decorated 14 rooms for the visitors and dubbed the place Cattitude, a resort that pampers cats.
The facility has an enclosed playground for her four-legged guests, complete with climbing trees and an exercise wheel that's similar to a hamster wheel, only cat-sized.
Menze prefers to avoid boarding cats and dogs in the same place.
"For years cats have been boarded in relatively cramped quarters where they can hear and smell dogs," she said. That can be disturbing for boarders that come from cat-only families and aren't used to having dogs in close proximity.
"A cat-boarding facility is very quiet," Menze said. "A dog-boarding facility can be very noisy."
At Cattitude, two cats can share a small room, and up to four can share a larger room, she said. But they don't share rooms with cats with which they aren't acquainted.
"It would be dangerous," Menze said. "Your cats only get to hang with your cats."
The place at 1931 West Bay Drive was previously occupied by Garden Gate Home Décor, which was operated by Kay Davis, Menze's mother. Davis closed it months ago because of the illness of a family member.
Cattitude has been open for about a month. Menze invested $35,000 to remodel and open the business. She has three employees and expects three more to join the staff soon.
Boarding at Cattitude is $20 per night, and cats can stay indefinitely, Menze said.
Just as humans who vacation at a fancy hotel might expect access to spa services, Cattitude's guests can expect a chance to be pampered with similar treatments. The staff uses a special system made for felines to remove dander and loose hair as it dries the cats' fur. Grooming prices start at $44 for a shorthair cat, which includes a bath and nail trimming.
Just next door to Cattitude, dogs can be indulged. Menze owns and operates the 1,200-square-foot Unleashed Pet Spa & Boutique, where an on-site commercial bakery specializes in treats and biscuits for dogs and cats. Owners can also buy gifts and accessories while their dogs are bathed and groomed to show-ready standards.